Railroads in Texas

Transportation was a major problem facing early settlers in Texas but as early as 1879, railroad mileage in Texas reached 2,440 miles and only continued to be expanded. Today, Texas has more railroad mileage than any other state and the largest number of railroad employees. Updated 2 years ago
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A Train Crossing Texas

A Train Crossing Texas

A train moves across Grayson County. Photo by Robert Plocheck.

In Texas in 2015 there were 52 railroads operating including three Class I railroad companies. The local or switching lines in operation made up only about 12 percent of the state's total track mileage. In 2015, the latest data available, railroads in the state carried more than 240 million tons of freight. 

Class of Railroad in TexasNumberMiles Operated
 Class I12,092 
     Union Pacific Railroad Co. 6,305 
     BNSF Railway Co.  4,860 
     Kansas City Southern Railway Co.  927 
 Regional 0  0 
 Local 27  1,334 
 Switching & Terminal 22  967 
 Total 52  14,393 
 TOTAL excluding trackage rights1 10,539 
1Track provided by another railroad.  


map of Texas railroads

Click to enlarge.

A Class I railroad has operating revenues of at least $433.2 million.

A regional railroad has revenues of at least $40 million, or operates at least 350 miles of track and has revenues of at least $20 million.  

A local railroad engages in line-haul service but does not meet the criteria for Class I or regional.  

Switching and terminal railroads engage primarily in terminal services for other railroads.



 Traffic Originated in Texas in 2015CarloadsPercent
Intermodal710,00034 percent
Chemicals447,30021 percent
Nonmetallic Minerals277,300 13 percent
Petroleum 119,100 6 percent
Transportation Equipment 106,7005 percent
All Other/Unknown 458,700 22 percent
TOTAL2,119,100100 percnet


 Traffic Terminated in Texas in 2015CarloadsPercent
Intermodal 963,90028 percent
Nonmetallic minerals503,60014 percent
Coal477,800 13 percent
Chemicals320,200 9 percent
Farm Products 183,5005 percent
All Other/Unknown 1,107,900 31 percent
TOTAL3,576,900100 percent


State Rankings for Freight Carried in 2012

1. Wyoming434.3 million1. Texas206.6 million
2. Illinois115.9 million2. Illinois157.8 million
3. Texas92.9 million3. California98.9 million
4. West Virginia92.3 million4. Virginia77.6 million
5. Minnesota90.3 million5. Ohio77.3 million


 Source: Association of American Railroads.

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